Category Archives: Fauna

January Thaw

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Last night, rain took away the natural snowpack. Cold came back this morning after dawn; strong wind, sun, clouds, sleet and flurries now. This young girl got to sleep in Spring like temperatures last night, and doesn’t mind the thaw at all – she is enjoying foraging what was left behind by last autumn, without having to paw through deep snow.

Though we’ll need a good snowfall to resume cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, skiing at Elk should be excellent for the weekend and beyond – perfect snow making conditions now, and for at least the next week.

Kilgore Memorial Race, Wilburger Memorial Race, and Women’s Ski Days will be held at Elk Mountain. Music this weekend all over the valley – Hitchin’ Cricket and Six East Band at Chet’s Place, Blue London at Stone Bridge. For those venturing off The Hill – tomorrow is First Friday Scranton, and Classical Guitarist Gohar Vardanyan is in concert at The University of Scranton.

Butterfly

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This fellow sips a late lunch perched on a Sunchoke flower in the garden. Why not take a drive in the country, stop by Creekside Gardens in Tunkhannock, and visit their Butterfly House soon – a treat for young and old alike!

A beautiful day on the hill today – mid 80’s, no humidity, light wind, just about perfect. Some of us are enjoying the day from behind a window, and are looking forward to completing our work, and being somewhere outside this evening.

The NEPA Rail-Trail Community Walk Series continues with an event tonight at 6:00 on the Simpson Trailhead, off Rte 171 near Forest City – call the RT office with any questions 570.679.9300.

Later, music will fill the East Branch valley as Blue London wails out their great mix of classic tunes, 7 to 11 tonight on the Patio at Stone Bridge.

Just a few more weeks from now, the Monarchs will be leaving for Mexico, the Sunchokes will be near ready for eating, and 80 degree weather will be a memory.

Get up – get out – enjoy the late Summer beauty on The Hill!

Ducks

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Skiing at Elk ended a week ago. This time of year, some of us usually venture North in search of a few more ski days before surrendering to Spring. Some go South, seeking an early taste of Summer on a tropic beach. Many find ourselves raking the Winter out of flower beds, and watching each day’s subtle changes that measure the progression of Spring as it unfolds.

No ice to be found anywhere – ducks swim happily along wherever it pleases them. No snow pack to keep the yards wet. Almost two weeks of near Summer weather is making this one of the most tolerable mud seasons in recent memory.

Spike Buck

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This fellow barely paid any attention as his picture was snapped from a fairly close distance. One of his girlfriends waited warily from deeper in the woods before he turned and rejoined her to continue their twilight forage; soon, he’ll scrape the velvet from his antlers.

Now, these beings, especially those whose snow spots have recently faded from their backs, are more curious than fearful when encountering humans. It’s prudent to remember, particularly when driving a vehicle, the old saying “Where there’s one, there’s two”. Drive a bit more slowly, and if you see one deer, expect that another will follow closely behind.

Spring Meadow

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“April is the cruelest month” begins t.s. eliot’s poem “The Wasteland”. Certainly, sources of suffering in this world are evident near and far: cold rain, wet snow, tsunamis, ill health, nations struggling against themselves, harsh words between loved ones.

Often obscured by such occurrences, the source of joy and happiness exists indomitable within us all. This source? Choice.

When we choose progression over destruction, service to others over self, kindness over cruelty, contentment within us emerges helping to dispel the suffering of the world, near or far.

Repeatedly making “The Healthy Choice” causes us to become as content and blissful as the horses tasting the first sweet tender shoots of Spring as they emerge from ground that recently seemed lifeless, buried deep in cold snow.

Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

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While traveling toward Elkdale recently, the handsome fellow above was spotted lumbering across the road.

Somewhat shy, he turned away from the camera several times.

According to Wikpedia, the “serpentina” portion of their name refers to their neck and head, and means “serpent” or “snake like”.

These turtles should be enjoyed from a safe distance. They can turn their head in a flash, and their jaws are powerful enough to amputate a finger.